SSA to support the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Pillar

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Application deadline 5 months ago: Wednesday 6 Apr 2022 at 21:59 UTC

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Namibia reported the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on 13 March 2020. Since then, the country recorded a cumulative total of 156,044 COVID-19 confirmed cases, and a cumulative total of 3,973 deaths representing a case fatality rate of 2.4% as of as of 1 February 2022. Furthermore, a cumulative total of 422,681 of Namibians received their 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine (Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer, Janssen), and 245,803 received their 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine (Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Pfizer) as of 1 February 2022.

Even as transmission dynamics change as the pandemic evolves, Namibia will continue to take all necessary measures to slow further spread, to avoid its health systems becoming overwhelmed, and to prevent infection among health care workers, the elderly and persons with co-morbidities who are at higher risk of severe outcomes, including death. It is therefore important for the country to prepare adequately by adjusting and tailoring its approach to the local context by investing its resources at the national, regional and district levels.

COVID-19 presents risks for development, exacerbation, and relapse of a range of mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders. It is associated with neurological and mental complications, such as delirium/encephalopathy, agitation, stroke, insomnia, loss of sense of taste and smell, anxiety, depression and Guillain-Barré syndrome. In addition to these, pre-existing mental and neurological conditions increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness and/or death. Social distancing restrictions, countrywide lockdowns, closure of businesses that are considered “non-essential” and travel restrictions, among others, contributed to increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression. The number of deaths recorded in a short period of time, the fear of contracting the illness and the fear of infecting loved ones all make this pandemic one that affects almost every single individual in one way or another. There are also evidence young people, especially girls have suffered from abuse during the pandemic.

WHO and the Ministry of Health of Namibia recognized the importance of integrating mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) as part of the national COVID-19 preparedness and response and helped established a Pillar to focus on MHPSS under the national incident management system. WHO also have zero tolerance for all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse of the communities we serve, and sexual harassment of our own workforce.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) has identified staffing needs for the response within all the pillars in the national response. The World Health Organization (WHO) Country office has already repurposed staff and recruited additional consultants to support response activities in all the pillars. As part of its continuous support to the government, WHO is seeking to recruit an additional consultant to provide technical assistance to the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Pillar and assist in addressing psychosocial needs during the pandemic.

Purpose of consultancy

Under the direct supervision of the Health Promotion Officer, and in close collaboration with National Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support Pillar, the candidate will be responsible for strengthening the pillar at national and sub-national levels in line with its standard operating procedures.

The candidate will also introduce measures to ensure the protection of women, girls, boys, response officers and other vulnerable populations against abuse, exploitation, and violence in accordance with the countries laws and policies. In addition, the candidate will be required to support monitoring of sexual exploitation and abuse among WHO workforce.

The candidate will further support the coordination of the MHPSS Pillar as needed under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Mental Health and Psycho Social Support pillar is part of the 10 COVID-19 Response Pillars and aims to:

  • To enhance the social functioning of people in distress in order for them to deal with their needs and problems in an effort to cope with their stressful situation.
  • To in-still hope, strengthen the capacity of people to become resilient and to improve their quality of life.
  • To advocate for the needs, plights and rights of the poor and the vulnerable.
  • To link people in need with the necessary services, resources, and opportunities.
  • To provide comprehensive and holistic care services to the poor and the vulnerable through a multi-disciplinary team approach.
  • To empower caregivers and significant others to provide efficient and effective care and support to the infected and affected by the life-threatening disease such as, COVID-19 and other challenges.
  • To support the WHO Representative in monitoring sexual exploitation and abuse in the country office.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Provide technical and secretarial support for the coordination of the pillar:
    • ensure that the Pillar meets regularly,
    • ensure timely invitation,
    • help set meeting agenda,
    • take minutes,
    • follow-up on key actions points
    • Support any capacity development activities for national and sub-national levels
  • Introduce measures to ensure that the beneficiaries of the response are protected from abuse, violence, exploitation:
    • Create awareness amongst the different pillars and response team on the importance of maintaining high ethical values and standards to ensure that women, girls, boys, response officers and other vulnerable populations are protected from violence, abuse and exploitation during the COVID-19 response
    • Increase awareness amongst the population on the abuse and importance of reporting inappropriate behavior from the response team to a designated official or the local police
    • Collaborate with existing services and CSO organizations to create a network of support for women, girls, boys and vulnerable populations who may be subjected to abuse, exploitation and abuse as a result of the COVID-19 response
    • Develop communication materials for the response team on possible actions that may constitute abuse, exploitation and violence and consequences thereof, especially for the UN staff, consultants and volunteers involved in the response.
  • Monitor the provision and uptake of mental health services as part of continuation of essential health services:
    • In collaboration with the mental health unit and other key stakeholders, produce periodic reports on utilization of MHPSS services in public services, identify possible bottlenecks and recommendation for remedial action
  • Develop health education messages on the mental health services and promotion:
    • Develop IEC materials to promote use of mental health services and mental well being
    • Where possible, collaborate with community-based organizations to support community based mental health interventions and enhance access to mental health services
  • Incumbent could be assigned additional responsibilities by WHO or MOHSS related to the consultancy.

Competencies

  • Communicating in a credible and effective way
  • Producing results
  • Fostering integration and teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences

Functional knowledge and skills

  • Well-developed computer operating skills, including competency in word processing, spreadsheet programs and PowerPoint.
  • Knowledge of research and statistical programs will be an added advantage.
  • Knowledge and understanding of mental health and psycho social support services in Namibia is required.
  • At least 3 years’ experience in in a related field.
  • Fair understanding of the current COVID-19 pandemic and Namibia’s response.
  • Ability to work independently with minimum supervision.
  • Flexibility to adjust work schedule in response to changing needs and situations.
  • Strong analytical, communication (oral and written), interpersonal, and teamwork skills.

Educational Qualifications

Essential: University degree in Social Sciences, Public Health, or related

Experience

Essential: Minimum of three years of experience related to mental health and psychosocial support

Desirable

  1. Experience working in the health and protection sector in Namibia, preferable at National and/or regional level
  2. Experience working with United Nations or civil society organizations
  3. Experience working with multisectoral and multidisciplinary teams

Duration:

  • 3 Months with possibility of extension depending on performance and availability of funds
  • Consultant will be required to work fulltime for the duration of the consultancy.

Deliverables:

  • Monthly progress reports
  • National Plan on the protection of women, girls, boys and vulnerable population against abuse, exploitation, and violence
  • Periodic reports on the utilization of Mental health and psychosocial support services
  • IEC materials on mental health promotion, protection, and available services
Added 6 months ago - Updated 5 months ago - Source: who.int